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E36General discussion and technical help for (E36) 1992-1999 3 series cars. 318, 323, 325, 328.
I agree with 3050 RPM. Tensioner maybe, chain unlikely.
If it sounds like there is a can of marbles in there, the problem is the VANOS, not the timing chain. This would not be surprising at this mileage. I have a '97 with 275k miles that has never even had the O-rings replaced in the VANOS and I know I am running on borrowed time.
The bad news is that while a VANOS is easier to replace than a timing chain, the parts alone are $600 if you bolt in a complete new one, which most folks do, so you are still looking at a $1000 bill. Sorry Bro.
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Your Ride: 1994 325is
MY car is 250k on it. The timing chain last for life, if you change oil and check oil. One time it happened to me, I thougt it was timing chain, it ended up the spark plugs are loose. So check you spark plugs.